Wildcats head coach Richard Agar says professionalism will be the key component in progressing past Hemel Stags on Saturday evening at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, kick-off: 6pm.
Wakefield host the Championship One club in the 4th round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup and are strong favourites to get the victory and be in the hat for Monday’s draw.
Hemel certainly deserve respect though after winning their opening two games in their new division as a semi-professional club. Coached by Australian Troy Perkins the southern based team will represent a different challenge to anything the Wildcats will have faced so far this year.
Agar expects victory but is not taking the Stags lightly.
“The challenge for us is to be professional from the word go over the 80 minutes,” claimed the boss.
“I’ve had a look at some tape and their coach actually came up and spent some time with us last year for a couple of days. Troy knew Glen Morrison and James Webster from back home so he came up and spent some time here, he’s a super guy that’s put a lot of time into rugby league down south over a number of years.
“It’s a great opportunity, a great test for them and a good day out for them I would imagine. That’s not me being condescending or disrespectful, we are treating them with every respect.
“We are prepared, watched tape on them and had a look at them but the reality is I would expect us to do a job on them, no danger.”
Agar has called in a number of players who could make their first Wakefield appearances of the season including Lucas Walshaw, Danny Cowling and two members of the under 19s squad and he is hoping they can cause him a selection headache moving forward.
“It’s an opportunity for some guys to stake claims as well. We’ve used Vinny Mellars as a great example to some of our squad players this morning. We had a chat that we feel it’s a good time in our year where we’ve come out of a tough period and we’ve got an opportunity to rest and take stock of where we are at.
“We feel the way we are playing and the way individuals are playing are not far off, we are nearly there but not quite. We are at a point where we do need to turn those six or seven out of tens into seven and eight out of tens and get that extra 25% of our team performing that little bit better.
“One of the things we have highlighted is we want our guys underneath to be a little more forceful and try and force our hand with good form and that’s a great opportunity this week for those guys.
“To lay a marker down and say I’ve gone and performed my role really well, done it to an intense level and done it consistently over 80 minutes.”
Trinity were knocked out in this round last season as the eventual runners up Leeds Rhinos beat Agar’s men at Headingley.
It is 50 years since Wakefield last lifted the Challenge Cup in 1963 and the head coach is targeting a run to Wembley himself.
“It is the luck of the draw isn’t it? You’re only a couple of draws away from a semi-final spot and I think we are a team that if we got into a quarter or semi-final we can probably make anybody fear us because we have got the ability to score points.
“It is high on our priority list, we got a tough draw last year, we’ve got a not as tough draw this year. It gives us a great opportunity to progress and we all get the excitement of getting around the radio or laptop these days and seeing who we get in the next round.
“I’m not taking anything for granted because obviously we have to turn up and get the job done this week but it does give us a great opportunity to progress and I think every Super League team will have high hopes of a cup run this year, we are no different.”
You can listen to the full pre-match press conference with Agar on the clubs Sound Cloud account HERE.
Tickets are just £10 adults and £5 concessions or juniors for the knockout cup tie so make sure you do your bit and cheer on the Wildcats as they aim to progress through into Monday’s 5th round draw.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.